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Butler students
Student Involvement & Leadership

Student Organization Advisors

We highly value the work you do with student organizations, and are here to serve as a resource and guide to you.

All recognized student organizations must have an advisor who is a full-time faculty/staff member at Butler University.

Benefits to Advising Include:

  • A unique opportunity to get to know and work with students outside of the classroom or office
  • The reward of watching the group develop to its fullest potential
  • The reward of watching students develop their individual skills and talents
  • The chance to informally share your knowledge and expertise on relevant topics
  • An opportunity to feel satisfaction and accomplishment through making a special contribution to a particular group of students
  • The chance for service to students, the University, and the larger community

Expectations of Advisors:

  • Assist students in developing strategies and goals that provide for member ownership, feedback, and involvement.
  • Be aware of the organization's constitution, by-laws, and policies.
  • Assist the organization in program development and planning.
  • Encourage the officers and individual members to preserve the continuity of the group by keeping records to document the group's history and provide transition to new officers.
  • Encourage students to understand and apply democratic principles, including the promotion of diverse programming and inclusive practices within the group. 
  • Attend as many organization meetings and events as possible.
  • Articulate campus policies and procedures.
  • Be a facilitator among both officers and between officers and members.
  • Be familiar with national organizational structure and services, if relevant.
  • Be a resource for students, especially in regard to understanding University policies, regulations, and services.
  • Consult with other University departments when problems arise with the organizations.
  • Provide assistance in the administration of financial affairs of the organizations, including serving as the collection point for all monies via mail.

If you'd like to volunteer to be a student organization advisor, call us at 317-940-9262.

Our office is here to serve as a resource to you and to answer your questions or concerns. Contact us with questions, and be sure to look at the resources available to the left.

Thank you for all you do with our student organizations!

Advisor's Handbook

The University has always recognized and encouraged co-curricular participation in student activities and organizations as a vital part of a student's total educational experience. Butler supports the status of recognized student organizations and activities as a vital addition to one's academic life. In keeping with this value, the University offers a wide range of opportunities for involvement, including honor societies, special interest groups, club sports, service organizations, spiritual services, student government, and social fraternities and sororities. The university also offers services and support to these student organizations.

Here are some helpful links for advisors to student clubs and organizations: 

Benefits and Responsibilities of Advising

The organization/advisor relationship benefits not only the organization and students, but the advisor as well. Becoming involved with a student organization offers:

  • A unique opportunity to get to know and work with students outside of the classroom or office
  • The reward of watching the group develop to its fullest potential
  • The reward of watching students develop their individual skills and talents
  • The chance to informally share your knowledge and expertise on relevant topics
  • An opportunity to feel satisfaction and accomplishment through making a special contribution to a particular group of students
  • The chance for service to students, the University, and the larger community

The Role of the Advisor

The following is a list of some things that begin to define the role of advisor:

  • Serve as a sounding board off of which students can bounce new ideas
  • Support the group
  • Intervene in conflicts between group members and/or officers when necessary
  • Be knowledgeable of policies that may impact the organization's decisions, programs, etc.
  • Provide continuity and stability as student leadership changes
  • Provide an outside view or perspective
  • Provide student groups with university and community connections

Effectiveness of Faculty/Staff Advisors

Faculty/staff advisors use a variety of advising styles that are as unique as the advisor and the organization with which he/she is working. However, the following conditions should be met in order for the advisor to be most effective (Keintz, ACU-I Bulletin, Sept. 1995)

The advisor must:

  1. Establish strong relationships with students founded on trust, respect, and communication,
  2. Have a working knowledge of campus resources, policies, and laws, and
  3. Understand the parameters of the advisor from the perspective of the students and the institution.

Responsibilities

The relationship of the advisor to the group will vary according to the needs of the organization. The advisor has three major areas of responsibility:

  1. Responsibility to the Group
    1. Teaching skills - The advisor can serve as a resource for his/her area of competence as well as be a source of information for other resources and ideas.
    2. Consultation - The advisor should expect that he/she will be consulted regularly by officers and members of the organization. The advisor should be aware of any programs or activities planned by the group and offer suggestions and ideas freely without dominating the planning.
    3. Provide Continuity - Officers and members of an organization vary from year to year, so the advisor may be the only continuing link from past to present. The advisor can orient the group to this history in order to learn from past mistakes and successes.
    4. Meetings and social activities - It is recommended that an advisor attend as many meetings and events as possible to assist in setting the tone of the occasion.
    5. Goal setting - The advisor assists the group in setting realistic goals and objectives each academic year.
  2. Responsibility to the Individual
    1. The advisor should encourage each individual to participate in the group in order to promote educational and personal development.
    2. Group members may need guidance as they try to decide to what degree they should participate in activities. The advisor seeks to assist the individual students in maintaining a balance between the academic and extra-curricular aspects of student life.
    3. The advisor works with the individual members to help them understand the importance of their role in relation to the group goals.
  3. Responsibility to Butler University
    1. Organizations are required to have faculty/staff advisors in order to be recognized as student organizations by the University. NO EXCEPTIONS. The advisor's confirmation must be on file as part of the student organization recognition system.
    2. It is preferred that an advisor make a minimum of a 2-year commitment to an organization in order to provide continuity, to increase effectiveness, and establish rapport with officers and members.
    3. Advisors should work with students not as directors, but as guides for the group in accordance with the purposes and educational objectives of Butler University.
    4. All organization financial accounts are administered by the Programs for Leadership and Service Education (PuLSE) Office. University regulations do not permit organizations to maintain financial accounts off-campus. Account information and financial procedures are explained thoroughly in the recognition seminar in the spring. The advisor should be aware of the organization's financial status and encourage the group to maintain accurate and efficient financial records. Organization advisors and officers have access to the organization's financial records.
    5. The advisor is a representative of Butler University, and, as such, should advise the group to uphold university policies and procedures.

The following policies and procedures have been established to provide coordination for the University and continuity for student organizations. It is our hope that they will help each student organization and its members to be successful in all their efforts. Student organization presidents will also receive a copy of these.

Advisor's Checklist

Listed below are some expectations which can be negotiated between student leaders and their advisor. This form is designed to help advisors and officers arrive at a clear and mutually agreed upon advisor role. The advisor and the officers of the organization should rank the following items (from 1-5, with 1 being an essential duty of the advisor and 5 being absolutely not an advisor's duty) and then meet to compare answers and discuss any differences. For items that are determined not to be the responsibility of the advisor, it is important to establish whose responsibility it will be.

  • Assist students in developing strategies and goals that provide for member ownership, feedback, and involvement.
  • Be aware of the organization's constitution, by-laws, and policies.
  • Assist the organization in program development and planning.
  • Encourage the officers and individual members to preserve the continuity of the group by keeping records to document the group's history and provide transition to new officers.
  • Encourage students to understand and apply democratic principles, including recognition of minority opinions and rights.
  • Attend as many organization meetings and events as possible.
  • Articulate campus policies and procedures.
  • Be a facilitator among both officers and between officers and members.
  • Be familiar with national organizational structure and services, if relevant.
  • Be a resource for students, especially in regard to understanding University policies, regulations, and services.
  • Consult with other University departments when problems arise with the organizations.
  • Provide assistance in the administration of financial affairs of the organizations, including serving as the collection point for all monies via mail.

Advisor Expectations Checklist (PDF)

Starter Kit

The success and effectiveness of your organization can be improved a great deal through a good relationship between advisor and student leader. In the advisor/student leader pairing, a general understand and a concerted effort to develop the relationship is essential. Too often we take relationships for granted and think things will automatically fall in place. As in all relationships, it is important to learn about one another's expectations, goals, wants, needs, strengths, and weaknesses. To help you do just that, we have provided you with the following list of questions.

We encourage you to sit down together and discuss your answers to the questions provided.

Advisor and Student Leader Starter Questions (PDF)

Questions

  1. What motivated you to assume your position (as advisor or leader)?
  2. What are you most excited about as we begin this year?
  3. What are you most anxious about as we begin this year?
  4. What personal and/or professional goals have you made for this year?
  5. When you think about your skills and abilities, what would you list as your strong points in relations to this position?
  6. What are you hoping to learn from this experience?
  7. When you think about your skills and abilities, in what areas would you like to improve?
  8. Which of your personal qualities do you admire most?
  9. What kind of relationship would you like to have with me?
  10. What kind of relationship would you like to have with the other officers?
  11. How would you describe your advising/leadership style?
  12. What techniques do you use to motivate yourself and others?
  13. When you are upset or disappointed about someone's behavior or performance, how do you typically respond?
  14. When people meet or exceed your expectations, how do you respond?
  15. How do you feel about confronting others?
  16. What are some of the things you think we should do in training officers and members?
  17. How do you view our roles in the organization as alike and how do you view our roles as different?
  18. When considering your position, in what areas do you feel confident or comfortable? In what areas are you least comfortable?
  19. How do you typically handle conflict between yourselves and others?
  20. What are you thoughts about helping others resolve conflict?
  21. What types of situations do you find particularly difficult and stressful?
  22. How do you deal with stress?
  23. When you are in over your head, what do you do?
  24. If, at the end of the year, there were a banquet in your honor, what are some of the things you would want to be said about you and your performance in this position?

Adapted from "Advisor/Undergraduate Assistant Starter Kit," Office of Residence Life, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Campus Security Authority (CSA)

Student Organization Advisors are Designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSA)

What is a CSA? What are my responsibilities as a CSA?

  • Student organization advisors are required to take the CSA training as soon as they are designated the role of advisor. Training can be found here. 
  • Recent amendments to the Clery Act, a federal mandate requiring universities to track and report crimes that occur on/near campus, has expanded the campus crime reporting network.  The changes affect anyone serving as a Butler student organization advisor. All Butler student organization advisors are considered CSAs.
  • The Department of Public Safety, specifically the Director of Public Safety, is responsible for maintaining the most current list of Butler University Campus Security Authorities (CSA). The Clery Act requires that the University identify other individuals or offices, in addition to the University Police Department, with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.
  • Alleged crimes reported to Campus Security Authorities are then reported by them to the designated individual or office required to collect such reports. The office designated at Butler University is the Department of Public Safety/University Police. CSAs can file the required notice by documenting it on the University Crime Reporting Form. If you need assistance in classifying the crime, after completing the form, please contact BUPD. 
  • If a student, faculty, or staff member tells a Campus Security Authority about a criminal incident that was not reported to the University Police they are required to report the information under federal law. CSAs completing the form should not include the name of the reporting party or other individuals in the report if the person making the report request confidentiality. CSAs should not investigate the crime or attempt to determine if a crime did occur. University Police personnel may later contact the reporting CSA or others to gather additional information.